Ashish Dhawan

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Ashish Dhawan
Head and shoulders photo of Ashish Dhawan
Dhawan in 2020
Ashish Dhawan

(1969-03-10) March 10, 1969 (age 55)
New Delhi, India
Alma materHarvard Business School
Yale University
Former private equity investor
Known forFounder-trustee of Ashoka University
Co-founder of ChrysCapital
Board member ofBill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Manisha Dhawan
(m. 1998)

Ashish Dhawan (born March 10, 1969) is an Indian philanthropist and former private equity investor who co-founded and ran one of India's leading private equity funds, Chrysalis Capital (ChrysCapital).[1] He is the founder-CEO of the Convergence Foundation,[2][3] founder-chairperson of the Central Square Foundation,[4] and a founder-trustee of Ashoka University.[5][3]

Dhawan has served on the board of trustees of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation since 2022.[2] His net worth is approximately $800 million.[6]


Dhawan attended St. Xavier's Collegiate School, followed by St. James' School in Kolkata.[7][8] He is a graduate of Yale University, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in applied mathematics and economics, and Harvard Business School, where he earned an MBA.[7][9]


From 1992 to 1993, Dhawan worked on Wall Street at boutique investment bank Wasserstein Perella & Co., where he was the only Indian analyst.[8] He then moved to McCown DeLeeuw & Co., an eight-person private equity firm in California, where he was the junior-most associate.[8]

After completing his MBA in 1997, Dhawan went to work at Goldman Sachs, where he was part of the Risk Arbitrage Group.[8] At the age of 29, he decided to leave New York to return to India.[10]

In 1999, Dhawan co-founded ChrysCapital in Mumbai with Raj Kondur, a classmate from Harvard Business School.[8][11]


In 2012, Dhawan left his career as a private equity investor to found Central Square Foundation (CSF), a grant-making organization and policy think tank focused on transforming the quality of school education in India.[12][13][14] In 2014, he spearheaded the launch of Ashoka University, billed as India's first "Ivy-league-caliber" liberal arts university,[5] together with other Indian entrepreneurs.[9][15]

Other organisations launched by Dhawan include the India Leaders for the Social Sector (ILSS), which he set up with Anu Prasad in 2017; the Air Pollution Action Group (APAG) in 2019; and the Centre for Effective Governance of Indian States (CEGIS). a joint effort with economist Karthik Muralidharan.[1]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dhawan and CSF set up the ACT EdTech Ambition Fund, an organisation dedicated to helping deliver education to underprivileged children.[1] He and his wife Manisha set up the Convergence Foundation as an umbrella organisation and grant-making incubator dedicated to promoting growth in India by solving complex socioeconomic problems.[1][3]

Dhawan endowed the Renu and Anand Dhawan Professorship at Yale University to bolster scholarship in India and South Asia Studies.[16]


In 2012, Dhawan was recognized as the NextGen Leader in Philanthropy by Forbes India for his charitable work.[17] He also placed 15th on the 2014 Hurun India Philanthropy List, a ranking of the most generous individuals in India produced by China-based Hurun Research Institute.[18]

Selected articles[edit]

  • Dhawan, Ashish (September 16, 2022). "Education policy cannot be business-as-usual after Covid". Financial Times.


  1. ^ a b c d Bhargava, Anjuli (April 10, 2022). "Convergence Man: Former ChrysCapital chief Ashish Dhawan embarks on an ambitious set of goals". Retrieved August 15, 2023.
  2. ^ a b "Gates Foundation appoints Indian philanthropist Ashish Dhawan". The Times of India. August 18, 2022. Retrieved August 15, 2023.
  3. ^ a b c "Advisory Board". The Convergence Foundation. Retrieved August 15, 2023.
  4. ^ "Our Team". Central Square Foundation. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  5. ^ a b Bearak, Max (November 26, 2013). "A New University Offers Liberal Arts as Higher Education Alternative". The New York Times. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  6. ^ "Ashish Dhawan Portfolio: 6 stocks clock double-digit returns in 2023". Economic Times.
  7. ^ a b Sridharan, R. (January 13, 2008). "Private Equity Pasha: Ashish Dhawan". Business Today. New Delhi. Retrieved August 15, 2023 – via ProQuest.
  8. ^ a b c d e Mitra, Moinak (December 20, 2013). "Lessons learnt: Why foresight foreshadows all else for Ashish Dhawan, CEO of Central Square Foundation". The Economic Times. Retrieved August 15, 2023.
  9. ^ a b Kazmin, Amy (March 8, 2018). "Ashoka University: Ivy League, Indian-style". Financial Times. Retrieved August 14, 2023.
  10. ^ Sahad, P. V. (July 17, 2005). "One-Man Industry; Not counting institutional investors, Ashish Dhawan has brought in the most money into private equity in India over the last seven years. What is it about the 36-year-old that makes global investors put millions behind him?". Business Today. New Delhi, India. Retrieved August 15, 2023 – via ProQuest.
  11. ^ Sengupta, Snigdha (March 21, 2011). "Ashish Dhawan's New Ambitions". Business World. New Delhi, India. Retrieved August 14, 2023 – via ProQuest.
  12. ^ Rai, Mridu (February 10, 2014). "Take a lot of risks and do something different: Having given up a successful and lucrative career as a venture capitalist to work towards revamping the education sector in India Mridu Rai finds out more about the man with a vision. Ashish Dhawan/ CEO, CENTRAL SQUARE FOUNDATION". India Today. Retrieved August 14, 2023 – via ProQuest.
  13. ^ "CSF Official Website - Our Team". Central Square Foundation.
  14. ^ "Economic and social reform with Ashish Dhawan - KPMG Global". KPMG. March 14, 2022. Retrieved June 10, 2023.
  15. ^ "Ashish Dhawan to raise Rs.400 crore for Ashoka University". Live Mint.
  16. ^ "Sunil Amrith named the Dhawan Professor of History". YaleNews. April 20, 2020. Retrieved August 15, 2023.
  17. ^ "Forbes India - Ashish Dhawan: Next Gen Leader in Philanthropy".
  18. ^ "胡润百富 -". Archived from the original on May 16, 2015. Retrieved May 11, 2015.

External links[edit]